smell this: Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess body oil spray


Estée Lauder’s Bronze Goddess fragrance has been coming up in a lot of lists of best summer fragrances*, and I am in complete agreement, particularly wrt the body oil spray (which I find richer and longer lasting than the eau fraîche skinscent). This is summer in a bottle. Imagine a nostalgic suntan lotion smell–an old school Coppertone kind of smell–then remove all of the harsh-smelling chemical elements, amp up the coconut, and add a summer flower bouquet. What you get is a creamy base of coconut and vanilla (kept from being too sweet with some subtle vetiver and sandalwood) layered with a variety of citruses, lavender, and delicate white florals: jasmine, magnolia, orange blossom**.

*This one being the best I’ve seen. I am so often in agreement with Guardian beauty columnist Sali Hughes. Her videos are great, too, extremely knowledgeable and well researched. And sensible. I like sensible people.

**You can see all the notes and more on basenotes, which is a great resource if you’re not already familiar.


They re-release it every summer with the Bronze Goddess collection so the packaging and formula may vary slightly from one year to another. I have smelled it the last four years running, though, and it always smells great (and essentially the same) to me.

There is nothing heavy-handed about this. It is light, effortless, sunny and fantastic. The notes that really stand out on me are coconut, vanilla/amber, and jasmine, all with the lightness that indicates citrus, too, without feeling explicitly like citrus at any given moment. Be warned that it does smell rather like suntan lotion, only really luxurious suntan lotion. I like the smell of suntan lotion anyway. It may smell different on you (some report a cheap vanilla ice cream effect, try everything on your skin first), and for some it’s not interesting enough…but who cares about smelling interesting if you already smell great? I like a complex scent as much as the next perfume maven but there is something to be said for smelling, simply, good.

reading: wine, wine, wine, perfume


This is seriously what I am reading.

The Diary of a Nose, Jean-Claude Ellena – Ellena is the in-house perfumer for Hermès, and behind a number of fragrances I admire and enjoy: Hermessence Vetiver Tonka, Cartier Déclaration (more on this later), Voyage d’Hermès, Bigarade Concentrée, Different Company Osmanthus, Terre d’Hermès edp, the list goes on. If you are curious about the art, skill, theory, philosophy, etc*. behind perfume, this is an interesting little book, though I admit not as interesting as I had hoped (or maybe I just wish it were longer – it is much shorter than it looks). I like his more technical book better, Perfume: The Alchemy of Scent, though I warn you it is extremely technical.

*Here, for the interested, is a good New Yorker article about the process behind creating the Hermès fragrance Un Jardin sur le Nil.

Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters, and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink, Tyler Colman

Perfect Pairings: A Master Sommelier’s Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food, Evan & Joyce Goldstein

Essential Winetasting: The Complete Practical Winetasting Course, Michael Schuster

The World Atlas of Wine, 6th ed., Hugh Johnson & Jancis Robinson

I have decided to be a bit serious about wine. Wine suits me, and being serious about wine suits me better still. Took a tasting course and enjoyed it so much. The act of parsing out the notes is exactly parallel to assessing a perfume; all a matter of attention, concentration, and recognition (and, the most challenging, expression).